We made it to Amsterdam just in time for the “Amsterdam Hamsterdance Festival.”
Hamsters are everywhere. Everyone in the city dresses up like a hamster. This is mandatory. There are men who go from house to house, hotel to hotel, hauling great truckloads of hamster outfits: masks, furry coats, fuzzy britches, and special shoes outfitted with little hamster claws. There is an opportunity to put these on voluntarily, but those who decline are dragged out into the streets and forcibly stuffed into a suit with lockable zippers.
The end result is that large, human-size hamsters are everywhere. But this is just the beginning. Overhead, the sky above Amsterdam is filled with hamster-shaped blimps and dirigibles. On every street corner, there are men juggling live hamsters. Snack vendors sell hamster sandwiches, the hamster roll (a hamster, encased in pretzel bread), and hamster pot pie. And, unsurprisingly, there is a cocktail of the day: the Hamster-tini, made with carrots and eucalyptus-infused vodka (with optional fur around the rim).
I could tell you this, dear reader, or tell you that we strolled the Jourdan district, took a nice boat cruise, walked through the Stedelijk Museum of Contemporary Art and and Design, wandered the Nine Streets area, scarfed down a mocha gelato, ate a wonderful steak sandwich and chips, and stumbled on a great little steakhouse for dinner and the perfect little nightspot for a relaxing after-dinner bout of people-watching.
Which do you prefer: the casual romantic day in Amsterdam … or the Hamsterdance?